How the world fails in the fight for women's rights

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Nov. 25 was the international day for combating violence against women. It has become an opportunity to increase awareness concerning the global problem of violence against women, and a series of events was organized to discuss the matter. However, even a quick search of the issue on an international basis confirms that there is still a serious lack of consciousness concerning this deep-seated problem in society. For example, the definition of violence has not so far been made properly, and the world still sometimes even fails to name attacks against women at the physical, psychological and economic levels.

While official complaints of women faced with violence are far from reflecting the real scale of the problem for various reasons, combating violence against women remains mere rhetoric for many Western states and societies. Data regarding gender-based violence is not sufficient to give appropriate ground for a serious start to fight this problem. As a result of victims' fear of and the phenomenon of victim blaming, many attacks against women unfortunately stay unreported.

At least one in three women face violence committed by a relative or partner, and one in 10 women in Europe have experiencing sexual harassment. One in 20 women have also faced rape. A discussion in France to reduce the age of consent from 15 to 13 or even 11 is a serious attack against women, as well. Another issue in France is to provide birth control to schoolgirls without the knowledge of their parents, which is also another attack in terms of woman rights, as the abovementioned official regulation will legitimize sexual life at a young age and lead young students to make decisions without permission from their parents. They will officially be authorized to lie to their parents.

The accelerating trend of violence, conflicts and waves of migration around the world also deepen the threat of violence that women confront. During wartime, a brutal instrument to attack a society or a community is to conduct brutal violence against the women. In addition, since the level of a society is linked to the status of women, we should admit that physical and sexual attacks on women are considered proper weapons against a country. The war in Bosnia in the 1990s is a clear example of these kinds of attacks, since thousands of Bosnian women experienced sexual attacks and rapes.

In today's world, violence against women is one of the biggest discriminations and most violated human rights, as the United Nations also concludes. According to an EU study, the economic consequence of violence against women is a serious burden for the EU budget, as well.

Initially increasing awareness, secondly taking necessary steps to cure the damage of violence and thirdly organizing dispositions to prevent the repetition of violence against women are the key steps needed to seriously combat gender-based violence.

Encouraging women to voice their suffering, preventing society from committing social violence against women who voice their suffering and providing socio-economic opportunities and giving priority to women to re-organize and re-build themselves for a new life is essential. Perhaps, we can start to confess that the rhetoric of fighting against gender-based violence is just an illusion, but we can choose to have a fresh start to get out of the cycle of violence by deciding to be honest. If a political attack is planned on a country, the issue of women's rights is simply used as a reason for it.

The real struggle will start on the day when we define the facts properly concerning the real conditions that women face.

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